PIF, Suva, September 15, 2023 — The 2023 Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers meeting has ended with a collective statement on Japan’s release of ALPS treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.
In the statement, Forum Foreign Ministers “highlighted the priorities of ensuring international consultation, international law, and independent and verifiable scientific assessments” and re-emphasised “our collective Forum position and the process we have taken over the last three years on this matter”.
‘The statement acknowledges our role as the custodians of the Pacific Ocean, and it calls for continued dialogue with both the Government of Japan and IAEA, in an accountable and transparent manner,’ Forum Chair Brown told journalists after the meeting.
At the press session, alongside Forum SG Henry Puna and Tonga’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Cook Island’s PM Mark Brown acknowledged the attendance of colleague Leaders of the Forum holding Foreign Affairs portfolios — Kiribati President Taneti Maamau, Nauru President Russ Joseph Kun, and Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.
Australia, New Zealand, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu attended at ministerial level, and all other members at the diplomatic level. The Ulu, Kelihiano Kalolo, represented PIF associate member Tokelau.
The Forum Foreign Ministerial is one of seven standing meetings of the PIF programme ahead of the Forum Leaders 52nd meeting, which will convene in the Cook Islands from November 6-10, 2023.
As well as the Fukushima issue, Foreign Ministers also discussed key climate action policies and frameworks to advance the region’s pioneering effort on climate change and sea-level rise advocacy, globally. As well as upcoming strategic opportunities for Forum Leaders at the 78th UN General Assembly in New York in September, followed by the 2nd U.S.–PIF Summit in Washington DC. The discussions on international engagement and collective strength noted increased interest in the region and the need to ensure engagement that delivers tangible outcomes.
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